Summer Palace (2006)
"Yihe yuan" (original title)

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Reviews: 26 user | 34 critic | 12 from

Country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure. Enraptured, ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Xiaodong Guo ...
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Xueyun Bai ...
Lin Cui ...
Yihong Duan ...
Tang Caoshi (as Long Duan)
Ling Hu ...
Chi Le ...
Meihuizi Zeng ...
Xianmin Zhang ...


Country girl Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her lover to study in Beijing. At university, she discovers an intense world of sexual freedom and forbidden pleasure. Enraptured, compulsive, she falls madly in love with fellow student Zhou Wei. Driven by obsessive passions they can neither understand nor control, their relationship becomes one of dangerous games - betrayals, recriminations, provocations - as all around them, their fellow students begin to demonstrate, demanding democracy and freedom. Protests collapse, and Yu and Zhou lose each other amidst the social chaos and panicked crowds. Zhou Wei is sent to a summer military camp, and on his release moves to Berlin, fleeing both his country and memories of Yu. She finds a job, a lover, but can not forget Zhou. In Germany, social unrest is mounting: calls for freedom, demonstrations for democracy. A familiar story for Zhou. Weary, still haunted by Yu, he returns to China as the Berlin Wall crashes down. He finds her at ... Written by Anon

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Romance


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Release Date:

18 April 2007 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Summer Palace  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$2,500,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$10,649 (USA) (18 January 2008)


$62,707 (USA) (25 April 2008)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(as Dolby SRD)


Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In September of 2006, director Lou Ye was barred from making movies for five years because the film incorporated footage of the Tiananmen Square demonstrations and wasn't screened for Chinese officials. The Chinese government also demanded that all copies of the film be confiscated. See more »


The fashionable clothing worn by characters Yu Hong and Zhou Wei throughout their scenes as university students simply did not exist in China at this time nor for at least another decade. Mainland Chinese students circa the 1980s would have worn nondescript, non-branded attire rather than the high-heels, hipster track suits, designer dresses and sexy lingerie worn by the actors and actresses in Summer Palace. See more »


Yu Hong: I want us to break up.
Zhou Wei: Why?
Yu Hong: Because I can't leave you.
See more »


Features The 400 Blows (1959) See more »

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User Reviews

A fascinating portrait of modern Chinese youth
6 May 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I thought this film was a fascinating portrait of Chinese youth and culture, as they struggle through some astoundingly turbulent times. Coming into maturity while defining love, commitment, and one's self is a challenging part of any youth's life, but all the more so as part of a society that is struggling through the same challenges itself. I found interesting analogies of the Chinese village in the character of Yu Huong, and the big city in Zhou Wei. Somewhere around college age, we all attempt to define what is important to us and explore what we can do, can be, and want. Some of that experience is sorting through our history - family, village, cultural - and deciding what we want to carry forward and embrace, and what to rebel against and discard, and I believe that this film paints a lovely, if gritty, portrayal of modern China doing just that. In their dorm rooms, in the bars and restaurants, in their homes, in their hearts. On the one hand, I would have, aesthetically, enjoyed a more sumptuous, smooth production; but that is not modern China. China (what admittedly little of it I've seen) is gritty, sweaty, crowded, noisy, straining, and that's what I see in this film.

5 of 9 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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